Break the cycle of broken New Year’s Resolutions with these simple to implement ideas.
The New Year has become synonymous with renewed energy, passion, and the resolution list. Perhaps it’s the holiday joy or eggnog that motivates us to personal and professional improvement.
But, unfortunately, all too often reality sets in quickly after the New Year. Promises and goals are renegotiated and adjusted, before eventually being put aside sometime during the doldrums of February.
Let’s be honest… it doesn’t have to be that way. The energy, passion and motivation that starts the New Year, and drives the beginning of many manufacturing improvement projects, doesn’t have to fade. So, as the New Year rolls around and many of us in manufacturing are planning for Q1, here are a few ideas to ponder and ways to ensure the motivation and energy we all find after the holidays lasts the whole year.
1) Do Your Homework!
Many of us set aside an hour or so to write out resolutions, which leads to goals that sound good, but may not be the best solution. By the time you determine the resolution is not all it’s cracked up to be, you’ll have lost the motivation and energy necessary to replace it with a better one.
Take time to do research before writing resolutions or making improvement plans. Even a few hours of reading and studying pay HUGE dividends for your business. Make research part of the resolution. Ask questions of potential vendors and collect information. Many of us are afraid of opening the floodgates to sales calls, but an honest vendor will help ensure you have the best solution plan. In fact, once you’ve done a little research and understand what you are getting into, you’ll be even more motivated and driven.
Example: There are more options than ever for manufacturers looking at paperless manufacturing. In fact, CIMx is preparing a new product for 2013 that will deliver paperless manufacturing to shop floors that may never have imagined paperless would work for them. Okay, this might sound like a shameless pitch, but the truth is, the marketplace is continually changing with new products and options. Gather information and make an informed decision on how to proceed.
2) Set Manageable Goals!
January 1st seems to hold more opportunity than February 12th (and no, I have nothing against February 12th, but you get the idea). This means the massive undertakings you plan at the beginning of the year may not be as possible as you imagined. And all too often, when one part of a resolution doesn’t seem possible, we put aside the entire resolution. Creating a complex, ambitious goal will likely lead to nothing getting done, and 2013 being another year of the “same-old.” But, setting a smaller goal or a few smaller goals that lead to quick rewards and measurable improvements make it much more likely you’ll find success and make positive changes.
Example: Here’s a simple improvement with quick rewards: digitize your shop floor. This might seem like a massive undertaking fraught with risk and high costs (despite new options that minimize risk and cost), but the simple step of making paper work instructions digital lead to savings and production improvements, and it’s not nearly as hard as you might think.
For example, many remember those massive, yellow phone books that wasted ink, paper and time. Now, the phone book is online and user-friendly. Why can’t we do the same thing with work instructions? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to shuffle paper from printers, to shop floor, to cataloging and storage, only to haul it back out for an audit? Digitizing the shop floor is a simple process with real rewards.
3) Make Change Sustainable!
Does anyone remember no-carb diets? Years ago, it was all the resolution-rage. But, let’s be honest, a diet of steak and hamburger is NOT sustainable. You need to spend some time considering how sustainable a change is before you set a goal. Plan on how you will make a lasting, positive improvement. You need processes and change management systems in place before you dictate improvements on your shop floor.
Example: No one can honestly deny Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma won’t improve production. Fewer errors leads to more profit. The problem many manufacturers have is collecting the data necessary to implement changes, and implementing procedural enforcement to sustain change. Integrating process improvements such as Lean and Six Sigma into software processes or features will ensure success and maximum benefits.
There is an energy and optimism that accompanies every New Year. Capitalize on the energy by making positive changes to keep your business competitive, profitable and successful. Your goal for each year should be steady improvement, because the competition is continually finding ways to improve. Opportunity is out there. Do your research, set achievable goals, and make sure those goals are sustainable.
What are your goals for the New Year? What areas do you want to improve, or what challenges are you faced with on your shop floor? Tell us! Putting your plans in writing will add even more motivation to improve and deliver success in 2013.
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